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  Cornell University

The University Faculty

Office of the Dean

Associate Professor

Associate professors are responsible for teaching, conducting research and publishing its results, advising undergraduate and graduate students, and providing public, departmental, college, and university service. Assigned duties may vary among associate professors – the dean and the department chairperson or the director of the school, center, institute or program make the determination of academic responsibilities in consultation with the faculty member – but responsibilities must include significant effort in research (or creative achievement, in the arts) and either teaching or extension/outreach.

Appointment as associate professor usually results from the promotion of an assistant professor with the award of tenure. In other cases, the rank of associate professor with tenure is bestowed on a new faculty member with the approval of the Board of Trustees, following established procedures for tenure review. A new faculty member may be given a term appointment at the associate professor level for a fixed term of up to five years; in this case either the appointment is terminal, non–tenure-track or in probationary tenure status. The tenure clock at the rank of associate professor may be for up to five years.

In unusual cases, assistant professors are promoted to the rank of associate professor without being awarded tenure. Such actions at Cornell are normally limited to the professional schools, reflecting a practice that is more common in professional schools nationally. These promotions do not extend the probationary period for the tenure decision (and without provost’s approval may shorten the tenure clock to five years). They do not require approval by the Board of Trustees, but other than in the professional schools, promotion for assistant or associate professors on the tenure-track does require approval by the provost.

Associate professors are voting members of the university and college faculties. The Dean of the Graduate School confers membership on the graduate faculty following nomination by the field’s graduate faculty representative and approval by the General Committee.

Administrative Notes

  • The unmodified title “associate professor” reflects a salaried position that is subject to affirmative action regulations.
  • Associate professors generally hold the highest graduate degree in the field. In the creative and performing arts, or in certain professional studies, the dean may accept a degree other than the Ph.D. or its foreign equivalent as the highest degree.
  • The associate professor title may be modified with “acting,” “adjunct,” “courtesy,” or “visiting.” More on modifiers.

Last Updated: August 20, 2017 at 6:46 am